What are right-wing people? – a guide for under 10-year-olds

Oh, this is irreverent.

Pride's Purge

RIGHT-WING PEOPLE

toby young cartoon

This is Toby. Toby thinks he is great. Toby likes to tell other people how they can be great too. Toby is what we call a ‘right-wing’ person.

But what are ‘right-wing’ people?

Right-wing people are people who think they are great. Right-wing people think everyone can be great too if only other people were a bit more like them. Right-wing people think they know how to do things better than other people.

Some right-wing people even think they know better than experts. If you have a tummy ache, normal people go to a doctor. Normal people listen to the doctor and do what they tell them to do.

But right-wing people don’t like to listen to doctors. Right-wing people think they know better than doctors.

jeremy cartoonThis is Jeremy. Jeremy thinks he knows better than doctors.

Right-wing people also think they know better than firemen how to put out fires. And they think…

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Scottish! Not British!

Scotto Voce

Nicola Sturgeon has, as we might expect, gone to the very nub of the issue for voters in the coming election. When she refers to the “social contract with the people of Scotland” she is talking about the things which make Scotland different from the rest of the UK. She is talking about the distinctive political culture which has developed in Scotland since our parliament was reconvened in 1999. A process of divergence that was markedly accelerated with the arrival of the first real Scottish Government in 2007. A process that gained unstoppable momentum with the SNP landslide of the last Holyrood election.

There is, in Scotland, a social contract between the governed and their government which has no parallel in the relationship between the people of Scotland and the Westminster elite. The British political establishment has rejected any such social contract in favour of a mechanistic relationship in which…

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Processes and tipping points

More common-sense from Peter A Bell. Take note.

Scotto Voce

What John Swinney suggests regarding a Scottish Chancellor makes perfect sense. Unless you are ideologically opposed to the power of the Westminster elite being diminished in any way. We are on a trajectory which inevitably leads to independence. With every bit of power that is wrested from the jealous grasp of the British establishment and returned to the Scottish Parliament where it belongs, it becomes increasingly difficult to rationalise the continued withholding of related powers.

It is an incremental process. It is gradual. But it is also an accelerating process which must, at some juncture, arrive at a tipping point. The point at which it becomes patently untenable for powers to continue being withheld. That point is likely to be reached rather sooner than most people suppose. In fact, it could readily be argued that we have already passed that highly significant milestone where the locus shifted from Westminster to…

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Welfare for the wealthy

This is a repost in its entirety of an article by Russell Bruce as published by Wings Over Scotland on March 14th.

There are two very different kinds of welfare in the UK. One is the kind that primarily benefits poor people, which is under remorseless attack from the government.

But there’s another kind too, for which there’s still a bottomless pit of cash.

Last week Treasury officials briefed that there would be no change to pensions in the coming budget, despite a widely-circulated consultation on a Pension ISA with no tax relief on investment, or an alternative model based on flat-rate pension tax relief.

The result has been that those with money to invest have been putting in as much as they can, in case either of those things happen in the future. Because if they did, higher-rate taxpayers would lose a fortune. And not even a small fortune.

Pension tax relief costs the Treasury around £35 billion a year, and much of it is a huge bung to the rich. The table below shows the present levels of tax relief on a pension investment of £3,600 a year (£240 a month). If you pay normal basic-rate tax and save that much, the Treasury chips in £720 to your pension pot over the year.

But a 40% taxpayer saving the exact same amount gets twice as much tax relief – £1,440 – and the 45% taxpayer gets even more – £1,620 – paid in by the Treasury.

pensiontax.jpg

The Treasury is sensitive about how much it’s subsidising the pension contributions of high earners because the government is bleeding a vast torrent of money to people who plainly don’t need it.

Luckily for them it rarely makes the newspapers, because pensions are boring and the editors of newspapers are exactly the sort of well-paid and savvy people who can take advantage of the juicy scheme, but just how lucrative the present system is for high earners was illustrated by Chris Giles in last Thursday’s Financial Times.

ftpensiontax

One particularly eye-watering passage can be found here:

ftpensiontax2

But we’re also going to build an illustrative story around those figures, because they aren’t the end of the tax saving potential for high earners.

Our fictional high earner – let’s arbitrarily call him “Boris” – is paid just under £150,000 a year, so he qualifies for 40% tax relief. He has £40,000 in unused allowances and plans to invest the full amount in case the rules change, following the route above.

But our lucky (and ENTIRELY FICTIONAL, remember) Boris was also left a portfolio of gold-mining shares by his Auntie B, and gold has risen in value in recent months. At the end of November last year it was trading at $1061 and is now $1246. When the gold price rises this leverages the price of mining company shares.

Boris calculates he is sitting on a profit of just over £11,000 on these shares. As he hasn’t used his capital gains tax allowance and the tax year is running out, he could take the profit to pay off the £10K left on the bank loan and leave the full £40,000 in his new pension pot.

Boris is happily married to Clarinda, who works in the City at something nobody really understands. She’s also a higher rate taxpayer and has used the same process as hubby Boris to turn £14,000 into a new pension pot of £40,000. Clarinda is only 52 so can’t move to drawdown and still has £10k left on her bank loan, but when annual bonus time comes around she gets enough to clear it in one go.

Boris and Clarinda earn a very healthy £295,000 between them. They also have money in stocks and shares and pay the maximum £15,240 into ISAs every year, where there’s no further tax on dividends and no Capital Gains Tax on profits.

They’ve each put £15,240 into an ISA and £14,000 into their pension, for a total of £29,240 each in tax shelters. They’ve used their Capital Gains Tax allowances to save £8,576 of tax, reducing the cost of those investments to a combined £71,328.

But in just one year – and there’s nothing stopping them doing much the same again next year, and every year – they’ve just managed to effectively increase their joint savings pot by a whopping £110,480.

Who paid in the extra £40,000? You, the hapless and unsuspecting taxpayer did. And by keeping the rules the same, the UK government is going to make sure you keep subsidising Boris and Clarinda’s comfortable retirement. Don’t let anyone tell you the Tories are reducing welfare, readers. They’re just redirecting it.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall!

Scotto Voce

There’s a lot of understandable and perfectly justified anger about the BBC Question Time broadcast from Dundee on Thursday 10 March. Even for the BBC, there was some quite remarkably blatant bias on display. Were the preposterously arrogant management of the corporation given to explaining themselves at all, they would surely be struggling to account for the very obvious dearth of local people in the audience. Although the unionist/anti-SNP weighting of the panel was pretty standard.

But what had most people choking on the breakfast cereal of grovelling humility that these days is supposed to supplement our regular diet of haggis, porridge and shortbread, was the appearance of, not one, but TWO relics from British Labour in Scotland’s humiliation at the hands of the Scottish electorate last year. One of these was a nonentity of such profound blandness as to have made no impression on me at all. But the…

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Rousing the beast of British nationalism

The very fact that the questions are being asked about Ruth Davidson’s future as leaderette of David Cameron’s North British operation tells us that here future is not as secure as she likes to pretend. It also suggests that she is being held personally responsible for the decision to stake the Scottish Tories’ electoral fortunes on a desperate bid to lure hard-line unionist votes away from British labour in Scotland with a campaign designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator among British nationalist fanatics.

Internally, of course, Davidson has undoubtedly pinned her future on “beating Labour into second place in the Holyrood election”. Much as the polls may have prompted second thoughts about her boast that the Scottish Tories can go from toxic support act for their British Labour allies to a leading role as official opposition, that moment of braggadocio will inevitably come back to haunt her if she fails to come first among failures.

What may be interesting about this developing sideshow is the way it is coming to serve, if not entirely satisfy, the British media’s need to get back to the ‘normality’ of British politics, and the faux rivalry between British Labour and the other half of the double-act. I suspect we will see an increasing focus on the runners-up and an effort to portray this as the really significant aspect of the election. The SNP is, of course, ‘only’ a Scottish party. How can it possibly be as important as the ‘main’ British parties? Such is the mindset of the British media. Whether with malicious intent or merely as a function of their primitive instincts, they will tend to seize upon any opportunity to sideline the Scottish in favour of the British.

Which will, incidentally, feed nicely into a battle for the crumbs off the Scottish Parliamentary election table fought as a contest of increasingly extravagant displays of Britishness. British Labour in Scotland will, as ever, allow their Tory dancing partners to lead. They will take their cue from Ruth Davidson as she prances and postures before the lumpen loyalist mass. Even as I write, the moths are being shaken out of lurid union jack clown-suits and the tawdry baubles of ‘Brand Britain’ are being dusted off. The appeals to sickly sentimentality for a mythical past are being prepared. The militaristic jingoism is being rehearsed. If at all possible, royal buns will already be in aristocratic ovens. The British bit of the Scottish General Election will come to look like a badly printed scene from a cheap commemorative plate. It will not be pleasant.

But there is a serious side to all of this. One wonders if Ruth Davidson is aware of the dark forces she is toying with as she seeks to rouse the monster of British nationalist fanaticism in aid of her electoral ambition. Is she genuinely naive enough to suppose that she can control the slavering beast she seeks to unleash? Is Kezia Dugdale smart enough to avoid being drawn into a fight for the favours of elements that less desperate politicians would shun?

Having observed the conduct of the British parties in Scotland over the past few years, there is no cause to be hopeful. Neither can we hope that the media will behave responsibly. The expectation must be that the British media will relish the contamination of Scotland’s politics that the British parties are set to visit upon us. If we are not careful, Ruth Davidson’s political career may be the least of the casualties in the coming election.

Scotto Voce

The very fact that the questions are being asked about Ruth Davidson’s future as leaderette of David Cameron’s North British operation tells us that here future is not as secure as she likes to pretend. It also suggests that she is being held personally responsible for the decision to stake the Scottish Tories’ electoral fortunes on a desperate bid to lure hard-line unionist votes away from British labour in Scotland with a campaign designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator among British nationalist fanatics.

Internally, of course, Davidson has undoubtedly pinned her future on “beating Labour into second place in the Holyrood election”. Much as the polls may have prompted second thoughts about her boast that the Scottish Tories can go from toxic support act for their British Labour allies to a leading role as official opposition, that moment of braggadocio will inevitably come back to haunt her if…

View original post 440 more words